Philip Johnson’s Glass House

Philip Johnson’s Glass House - Patrick Campbell...

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Patrick Campbell Frank Lloyd Wright 2/20/08 The Glass House Designed by Philip Johnson New Canaan, CT (1949) Over fifty years ago, the “Harvard Five”, a group of modern architects, descended upon a small town in Connecticut to build houses for themselves and their clients. These architects, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, John Johansen, Eliot Noyes, and Philip Johnson designed some of the most famous modern houses all within this small suburban town. The town of New Canaan became the center of modern architecture, and these new homes changed peoples’ perception about the true nature of a house. These men arrived in the town in the middle of the 1940’s, shortly after the end of the Second World War. The close of the war marked a turning point for the country socially and politically. In the artistic world, the Allied victory signaled the becoming of the second phase of modernism. The first phase of modernism, which occurred during the late 19 th century and early 20 th century, was characterized by a break from the past. Artists, fueled by new radical ideas about politics and society, began revolutionize art with new forms and figures. The second phase of modernism, however, combined art with popular culture. This new movement in the architectural world was called the Internationalist Movement. This revolutionary movement was termed by Phillip Johnson and Henry Russell Hitchock in their 1932, The Internationalist Style. This style, according to Johnson, is the American interpretation of European Modernism and his Glass House is widely considered one of the prime most examples. It was into this movement that Johnson, the most famous and skilled of the
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“Harvard Five”, began his work. Johnson was a graduate of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, which had an enormous impact on his style. Before Johnson arrived Harvard has incorporated the modern movements of Europe into its curriculum, which included many ideas from the Bauhaus School of Germany. While in Cambridge Johnson was able to study under Walter Gropius, the great German architect. Johnson was very influenced by Gropius’ unusual design ideas, and he molded these ideas to fit his own personal beliefs. Johnson's architectural thought can best be described as a balancing act between
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This essay was uploaded on 04/15/2008 for the course FA 500 taught by Professor Howe during the Spring '08 term at BC.

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Philip Johnson’s Glass House - Patrick Campbell...

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